Simon Stephan

Research Scientist in the field of Cognitive Science at the University of Göttingen

About me

I am a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Göttingen working in Michael Waldmann’s Lab of Cognitive and Decision Sciences. I’m interested in human causal learning and reasoning. Given that causal relationships are neither directly observable nor logically deducible, how do reasoners manage to learn about causes and effect so successfully? How do they use this knowledge to make predictions, diagnoses, or to explain things?

On this website I share information about my academic life. You’ll find things like an up-to-date CV, my publication list, and information about recent/ upcoming presentations (e.g., conference talks).

Interests

  • Computational Cognitive Science
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Causal Cognition
  • Learning and Reasoning

Education

  • PhD in Psychology, 2019 University of Göttingen
  • MSc in Psychology, 2014 University of Göttingen
  • BSc in Psychology, 2012 University of Göttingen

Honors & Awards

  • 2017 Computational Modeling Prize - Higher Level Cognition Awarded by the Cognitive Science Society
  • 2016 Leibniz-ScienceCampus Grant, Project: The relationship between causal and moral judgments
  • 2015 Leibniz-ScienceCampus Grant, Project: The role of intentions in children’s and adult’s causal ascriptions

Teaching

  • Winter terms (since 2014/15): Statistical Methods I Seminar As part of the first year undergraduate psychology statistics class
  • Summer terms (since 2015): Statistical Methods II Seminar As part of the first year undergraduate psychology statistics class
  • see also https://quantigoettingen.github.io/quantigoettingen



Recent Talks & Conference Presentations

2021

  • Evaluating general versus singular causal prevention (Poster at CogSci 2021 [virtual], July 2021)

  • The interplay between covariation, temporal, and mechanism information in singular causation judgments (Talk given at CPI-Lab [virtual], Feb 2021, Tübingen)

2020

  • Interpolating Causal Mechanisms - The Paradox of Knowing More (Talk given at CIC-Lab [virtual], Apr 2020, Stanford University)

2019

  • What made this happen? A computational modeling approach to answering causal queries about singular cases (Talk given at CRISP-Lab, Dez 2019, Heidelberg)
  • Computational Modeling and Progress in Cognitive Science (Talk given at ANaP-Lab, Oct 2019, Göttingen)


Publications

Forthcoming

  • Placì, S., Stephan, S., Waldmann, M. R., & Vallortigara, G. (preprint). The categorization of geometric objects in 3D and 2D contexts depends on invariant referents.

  • Stephan, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (in press). The interplay between covariation, temporal, and mechanism information in singular causation judgments. In A. Wiegmann, & P. Willemsen (Eds.). Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Causation. London, UK: Bloomsbury Press.

  • Stephan, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (under revision). The role of mechanism knowledge in singular causation judgments.

2021

  • Gerstenberg, T., & Stephan, S. (2021). A counterfactual simulation model of causation by omission. Cognition, 216, 104842.

  • Skovgaard-Olsen, N., Stephan, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (2021). Conditionals and the hierarchy of causal queries. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

  • Stephan, S., Placì, Sarah & Waldmann, M. R. (2021). Evaluating general versus singular causal prevention. In T. Fitch, C. Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Tessmar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. 1402–1408). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

  • Stephan, S., Tentori, K., Pighin, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (2021). Interpolating causal mechanisms: The paradox of knowing more. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication.

2020

  • Stephan, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (2020). Causal scope and causal strength: The number of potential effects of a cause influences causal strength estimates. In S. Denison., M. Mack, Y. Xu, & B.C. Armstrong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 42th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 3426 - 3432). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

  • Stephan, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (2020). On causal claims, contingencies, and inference: How causal terminology affects what we think about the strength of causal links. In S. Denison., M. Mack, Y. Xu, & B.C. Armstrong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 42th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 3419 - 3425). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

  • Stephan, S., Mayrhofer, R., & Waldmann, M. R. (2020). Time and singular causation - a computational model. Cognitive Science, 44, e12871.

2019

  • Stephan, S. (2019). Answering causal queries about singular cases - an evaluation of a new computational model. (Dissertation)

2018

  • Stephan, S., Mayrhofer, R., & Waldmann, M. R. (2018). Assessing singular causation: The role of causal latencies. In T.T. Rogers, M. Rau, X. Zhu, & C. W. Kalish (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1080 - 1085). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

  • Stephan, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (2018). Preemption in singular causation judgments: A computational model. Topics in Cognitive Science, 10, 242–257.

2017

  • Stephan, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (2017). Preemption in singular causation judgments: A computational model. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1126-1131). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. (Computational Modeling: Higher Level Cognition Award of the Cognitive Science Society).

  • Stephan, S., Willemsen, P. & Gerstenberg, T. (2017). Marbles in inaction: Counterfactual simulation and causation by omission. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1132-1137). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

2016

  • Nagel, J., & Stephan, S. (2016). Explanations in causal chains: Selecting distal causes requires exportable mechanisms. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J.C. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 806-811). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

  • Stephan, S., & Waldmann, M. R. (2016). Answering causal queries about singular cases. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J.C. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2795-2801). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

2015

  • Nagel, J., & Stephan, S.. (2015). Mediators or alternative explanations: Transitivity in human-mediated causal chains. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1691-1696). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Copyright © 2020 Simon Stephan. All rights reserved.